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Not afraid of privilege motion: Sharma

Source: PTI
November 22, 2012 22:38 IST
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Rejecting the contention that adequate consultations were not held with stakeholders on Foreign Direct Investment in retail, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Thursday dared the Opposition to bring privilege motion against him in Parliament.

"Let them bring the privilege motion, who is afraid. I know a lot about Parliamentary privileges. Let them read about privileges. We have not violated, we respect Parliament. There is no question of disrespecting Parliament. This government has not served or done anything to attract (privilege motion)," he told reporters.

He said the government had made extensive consultations with stakeholders. He added that he himself had spoken to chief ministers of many states and farmers organisations before permitting FDI in multi-brand retail in September.

"Stakeholders do not only mean Opposition parties. Stakeholders include farmers of the country, micro, small and medium enterprises... Govt has honoured every word," he said.

BJP has given a notice to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari a breach of privilege notice against Sharma, who had assured Rajya Sabha last year that all stakeholders would be consulted before a decision is taken on the FDI issue.

Despite making assurance last year, the government went ahead unilaterally to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, the BJP notice said.

Sharma said that the executive decision, taken by the Cabinet, is not a violation of any Parliamentary privileges.

When asked whether the government is willing to discuss the issue in Parliament, he said, "Right now. Any day."

"This government is an elected government and therefore has the constitutional right to make policy decisions. The government enjoys support of the majority in both the Houses. If anybody has any doubts then they have the option which has been spelt out," he said.

The Winter Session of Parliament got off on a stormy note on Thursday, with the first day getting washed out over FDI in retail.

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